Make Sauerkraut in a Bucket

sauerkraut 5 gallon bucket

Instead of setting yourself back over 100$ for an authentic German sauerkraut urn, you can ferment in a 5 gallon bucket to make sauerkraut that’s just as good.

Sauerkraut at home is just two ingredients – cabbage and salt. But you have to get the right salt, it should say “pickling salt” or “canning salt.” Here’s an example.

You will need something to weigh the sauerkraut down as it ferments. You can use the standard sauerkraut stone disks, or something as simple as a plate weighed down with a gallon jug of water. Continue reading

1 Minute Wine Recipe

Most wine making guides really over-think the wine making process. They tell you to buy all kinds of equipment and additives that you don’t really need.

This tutorial is about stripping wine making down to the absolute bare minimum. It’s so simple that you can get going with just 5$ in equipment, and start a batch of wine in under a minute.

See Also: The 1:30 video version. (link opens in a new tab)


Continue reading

Moonshine Still

A still separates alcohol from water, resulting in a highly alcoholic product. Alcoholic spirits such as vodka, tequila and moonshine are created using stills. There are many DIY still designs, including one made from a 5 gallon bucket.


Warning: In many countries, homemade stills are illegal. Check your local regulations before taking on this project. Stills can also be dangerous. This website or its creator accept no legal liability for the improper or illegal use of this design. Continue reading

Graduated Cylinder

graduated cylinder five gallon bucket

It’s not terribly precise, but it’s easy to mark the side of a bucket with gallon or liter measurements. You can see the liquid level right through the bucket. Having volume levels on your pail is useful for brewing, soap making, soil mixing, or any other application that uses ingredients that need to be measured.

You could also mark a bucket off with inches or centimetres to gauge rainfall where you live, but I would use a lid with a hole drilled in it to prevent evaporation if you hope to measure rainfall over an extended period of time.

Wine or Cider Press

This is a reader submitted guest post from Shannon of Island Shire Farm.

Today we created a wine press.

I used some ideas from a couple of guys on the Internet, with a few of my own modifications.

five gallon bucket cider press

Here are the materials we used to make this unit:

  • 1 10′ long 2×10
  • 1 Home Depot bucket, very orange and unscratched
  • 2 yards of netting fabric
  • 1 8×8 fence post (14″ segment)
  • 1 car jack
  • Tray to catch juice

2x10 lumber cutting

First cut the 2×10 board into two 31″ pieces and two 18″ pieces. We cut the remainder into two rough hexagons that fit into the bottom of the Home Depot pail as platens, or squishing devices.

The greatest modification we did was in terms of what we did to the pail. Rather than the very large 1″ holes that Kimball Herrick used in his plastic buckets, or the spigot only that Kevin Kossowan used in his pail, we drilled a series of 1\2″ holes as close to the bottom as possible for the wine to pour out, and then a few more about 2″ and 6″ from the bottom, just for a little air flow.

Five gallon bucket with holes

The press itself is basically just a box with the four corners supported with little triangles for extra strength. At first we made the bottom triangles too big, and had to reduce the size so that the bucket could protrude a little toward the back. The power is supplied by a car jack which we ingeniously hung from the top with a single bolt. My jack’s base didn’t have any holes for bolts, so I inverted Kevin Kossowan’s design, and I think it’s better for it, since the base has a much larger area of pressing on the platen. In the photos, the press is sitting on top of a wooden chair to get it up off the ground.

wine making plastic bucket

Here my helper loads the grape must, skins and all, from a 20 gallon food grade pail into the netting fabric, which is held in a stainless steel bucket. After this he pulls all four corners together and ties it all up into a nice little wet package with string. A lot of juice drains out this way, but the press gets the rest of it out quite nicely.

Here is a closeup shot of the platen being pushed down into the pail with our monster plunger. The car jack puts a good amount of force on the platen. The puck of skins and seeds comes out pretty dry.

five gallon bucket platen

Each one of these packages is called a “cheese.” We noticed that the cheese tended to spread out quite a bit in the first pressing, and since our platens don’t go all the way to the very edges, some of the cheese pooches out from under the platen inside the pail. So we took the much drier cheese out, jiggered the edges into the middle, and then twisted the whole package tighter and put it back into the press. We usually got more juice out that way.

For a while we pressed with just one package of must tied into cheesecloth. However, cheesecloth threads tend to move around, and on the third batch ours tore, so I had to go off to get some netting type fabric from Joann’s. Then we had enough fabric to do two at a time, so everything went a lot faster after that.

The tray is one that I bought from a thrift store, and fittingly has wine bottles on it. We drilled a hole along one edge and the liquid just drops down into a vessel. We will still be able to use the tray, and if anyone wonders what it is, we will say that it’s a WINE tray, can’t you see that?

From about 13 to 15 gallons of must, we have ended up with 10 gallons of liquid. Some of this will be lost in the various rackings we will do over time, to get rid of sediment.

If we ever get a big haul of apples, apparently I could also used this as a cider press, but that is for another day.

Editor’s Note: This design is a simplified version of the “Whizbang Cider Press” which is designed to be built yourself with some manufactured speciality parts. A photo essay is on the whizbang website, and detailed instructions are published in book form.